Prime Minister discusses skills required by the workforce of the future with Degree Apprentices

26 October 2021

On the morning of Friday 15th October, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP visited GKN Aerospace’s Global Technology Centre (GTC) in Bristol to see first-hand how GKN Aerospace is shaping a more sustainable future of flight.

The Prime Minister, accompanied by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss MP, officially opened the £32M centre, which was jointly funded by GKN Aerospace and the Aerospace Technology Centre (ATI). The Cabinet Ministers saw the break-through technologies being developed, from advanced and lightweight composites today, to the use of precision robotics for the manufacture of next generation wings.

The Weston College Group and the West of England Institute of Technology (WEIoT) work in partnership with GKN Aerospace as a training provider and as part of this visit the Prime Minister spent time discussing the skills required by the workforce of the future with the Weston College Group’s Principal and Chief Executive Dr Paul Phillips CBE, and Degree Apprentices from GKN and Airbus.

Conversations revolved around Zero Carbon Emissions for aerospace for the future and the necessary development of new fuel and energy systems.

The Prime Minister also saw how apprentices had access to the latest technology being developed for the manufacture of tomorrows aircraft and the group discussed the use of composites, robotics and augmented reality with demonstrations from GKN engineers.

The apprentices were also able to share their degree apprenticeship journey and how they saw the experience benefiting them from being able to study for their degree whilst having the exciting experience of working on the next generation of aircraft as GKN Aerospace and Airbus apprentices.

Dr Phillips commented: “I felt honoured to be able to outline to the Prime Minister the exciting partnership that has been established with the GKN Global Technology Centre and the inspiration apprentices are taking from studying in the Weston College, West of England’s Institute of Technology dedicated on-site training facilities. I was also very proud to see our degree apprentices voicing their knowledge and experience, it was a thoroughly insightful and enjoyable morning.”

The WEIoT is a consortium of education providers and key employers across the West of England. It has been led by Weston College and includes the University of the West of England, Bath College, Gloucestershire College, and Yeovil College as well as a network of key local employers, including; GKN Aerospace, Airbus, GE Aviation, Renishaw, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Trust, , St Monica Trust, Jisc, io Academy, National Composites Centre (NCC), North Somerset Council, Leonardo, Rolls Royce and Bamboo Technology.

IMAGE: The Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Liz Truss visit GKN Aerospace in Bristol. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street.